SINGAPORE — From Friday (13 March), all Singapore mosques will be closed for five days for disinfection, said the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) in a news release on Thursday.
This week’s Friday prayers at all mosques will also be suspended while all mosque activities, religious classes and mosque-based kindergarten sessions will be cancelled from 13 to 27 March.
The move comes following an announcement that the Ministry of Health (MOH) is tracking 95 Singaporeans who reportedly attended a religious event in Malaysia and may have been exposed to the coronavirus. MUIS said in its release that the event – held from 27 February to 1 March – had resulted in a number of Singaporean attendees testing positive for COVID-19.
“Muis understands that these individuals are regular congregants at various local mosques and are likely to have frequented these mosques since their return from (Kuala Lumpur),” said the council’s statement. It added that the new measures were meant to prevent a “sizeable cluster” of COVID-19 cases from breaking out in local mosques.
From 1pm on Thursday, four mosques – Masjid Muttaqin, Masjid Kassim, Masjid Hajjah Fatimah and Masjid Jamae Chulia – were also closed after an infected man who attended the Kuala Lumpur event was found to have visited them.
Yahoo News Singapore understands that the person is a mosque officer and that at least two Singaporeans from the group that visited Kuala Lumpur have been infected.
“Communal activities such congregational prayers (daily and Friday) may expose congregants to transmission of the virus by unsuspecting infected individuals. The Fatwa Committee has released a fatwa on the permissibility of closing mosques and suspending the Friday congregational prayer where the need arises in the interest of public health and safety,” said Muis.
A fatwa is a form of decree issued by an Islamic religious leader or body.
“Muslims should perform their regular noon (Zuhur) prayers in place of the congregational prayers. Friday messages will be disseminated online in place of the sermon,” said Muis, adding that the measures are temporary.
The council said that it sought the “support and the understanding of the Muslim community for such preemptive measures to safeguard public health and the well-being of all communities in Singapore”.